Since the advent of Google, experts have been trying to figure out just how Google figures out its search results. Just when we think we know the way search engine optimization works, Google has an update or changes its algorithm and we’re back to square one trying to figure it out.
Now there’s word that Google Plus will affect the search results, too. In traditional form, there’s no official word from Google if this is true but experts do believe that what is recommended on Google Plus will become more important – or appear as more relevant – in the search engine results.
What We Know
1. Google is getting smarter. With Google Plus, the Google wizards can see the size of your circles, what you share with your friends, what websites you’re reading and which of your circles is most important to you.
Some may say this is an attempt to become “Big Brother” but Google argues that they are simply getting to know their audience. By watching what you read and what you share and with whom you share it, Google learns which of your network’s recommendations to promote in your search results and what type of sponsored ads to place on your results page.
2. It’s harder to cheat with Google Plus. There are hundreds of “black hat” strategies for manipulating the search results but with Google Plus, it will be more difficult to cheat. Profiles that share and vote for only one website (usually their own) can be highlighted as spammers. If all these cheating profiles follow each other, the whole network will be flagged as spammers. This will ultimately result in cleaner and more relevant search engine results.
3. Frequent Google Plus interaction equals increased web traffic. When Google Plus users do a Google search while logged in to their account, the +1 button and even the profile photos of who in their circle recommended a link will appear in the results.
If you knew a friend recommended a local restaurant, wouldn’t you be more likely to go there as opposed to one with no recommendation? In this example, the recommended listing with the +1 icon would likely get web traffic to check out the menu and also get foot traffic as customers went to eat.
Is This Fair?
Some experts argue that Google is manipulating the search engine rankings themselves by allowing Google Plus recommendations to have an influence. Is this a blackmail tactic to force businesses to set up profiles they don’t want?
More likely is the Google desire to make the search engines easier to use while integrating some modern day “word of mouth” advertising into the mix. And if you don’t like having the personalized search results, you can certainly turn them off by clicking the “Hide Personal Results” button.
In the end, no one is forcing any business owner to join a social networking site they don’t want to use. However, the cost is free and there are definite search benefits for those marketing locally so what do you have to lose